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Hippos are helping kids brush up on better dental health

Grant McArthur, March 26, 2017 6:05PM Herald Sun

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health

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HAVING a brush with a hungry hippo could be the secret to saving children’s chompers*.

Faced with an increasing* number of children hospitalised with decaying teeth, Dental Health Services Victoria has asked for help from the hippopotamuses.

Just like their human visitors, the huge hippos at Werribee Open Range Zoo need their teeth cleaned every day.

Pygmy hippopotamuses Thug and Nicky line up for a scrub at London Zoo. Picture: supplied
media_cameraPygmy hippopotamuses Thug and Nicky line up for a scrub at London Zoo. Picture: supplied

In partnership with the Victorian dental organisation, the hippos are going to be used as an example to explain the teeth heath message to families with messages displayed on the enclosure*.

One in every 1000 children under five is hospitalised to treat decay and Dental Health Services Victoria CEO Dr Deborah Cole said they needed a new way to get the message across.

Zoos Victoria CEO Dr Jenny Gray said she welcomed the chance to engage* visitors with important messages for themselves as well as their animals.

Orangutan Karta having her teeth brushed at the Adelaide Zoo. Picture Dylan Coker
media_cameraOrangutan Karta having her teeth brushed at the Adelaide Zoo. Picture Dylan Coker

“Like humans, hippos need to take great care of their teeth and our keepers’ brush their

teeth and gums daily to help keep them clean and healthy,” she said.

It’s not only hippos that get their teeth cleaned at the zoo but also orangutans, sun bears and other crunching creatures.

GLOSSARY

chompers: teeth

increasing: going up

enclosure: where the hippo lives at the zoo

engage: include

LISTEN TO TODAY’S STORY

CLASSROOM ACTIVITIES

Activity 1. 5W+H

Use the 5W+H to identify the important information in this article.

Who

What

Where

When

Why

How

Extension: Tooth Decay

Do some further research about tooth decay.

Find out-

What is tooth decay? What causes it? How can you prevent it?

Present your information in the form of a fact sheet* suitable for primary school aged children to read and understand.

*a sheet giving useful information about a particular issue.

The following websites have some information about Tooth decay

http://www.eschooltoday.com/tooth-care-for-children/tooth-gum-dental-decay.html

https://www.dhsv.org.au/dental-advice/general-dental-advice/children

Time: allow 40 minutes to complete this task

Curriculum links: English, Science, Health and Physical Education

Activity 2. Happy Hippos

From the article we know that hippos need their teeth cleaned.

What else can you find out about hippopotamuses?

The websites below have some information about them or you may be able to do some research in your school library.

Write an information report about hippopotamuses.

Include the following- animal type, a description and picture, natural habitat, diet, behaviour, their predators and if they are endangered.

https://www.zoo.org.au/werribee/animals/hippopotamus

Extension: Design a tooth brush

Hippopotamus means river horse. They spend most of their time in the water. Their teeth can be up to 50cm long.

How do you think a zoo keeper would clean their teeth?

Can you design a tooth brush that would be suitable for this job and will keep the zoo keeper safe?

Now design one for a crocodile, a tiger and an orangutan.

Think about the type of teeth these animals have and their behaviour to ensure the tooth brush is suitable for each animal and the keeper will remain safe.

Time: allow 60 minutes to complete this task

Curriculum links: English, Science, Design and Technology

VCOP ACTIVITY

(Vocabulary, Connectives, Openers, Punctuation)

Punctuation Thief

You are the notorious Punctuation Thief! Your job is to choose a sentence, paragraph or section of the article and steal the punctuation. Do this by rewriting it without punctuation.

For example: just like their human visitors the huge hippos at werribee open range zoo need their teeth cleaned every day

When the punctuation has been successfully stolen, hand what you have done to a partner. Challenge them to identify what is missing and return the punctuation where it belongs. Once complete, check your answer by comparing with the article.

Extension: Write your own sentence or paragraph without any punctuation and challenge your partner to find what’s missing.

(Approx. 25 minutes)

Curriculum links: English, Big Write, VCOP

Activity provided by Andrell Education www.andrelleducation.com.au

EXTRA RESOURCES

DENTISTS WARN SOUR LOLLIES ARE TWICE AS BAD FOR TEETH

MEET THE LION CUBS, NAMED BY YOU

TIGER CAM CAPTURES PREY’S-EYE VIEW

WILD LIFE IN FOCUS

KIDS OPEN FOR BUSINESS

Extra Reading in health